Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Listing to Port, er...Starboard?

It seems there is an unwritten rule here at Modern in MN which says that we must make a crazy dusty mess with drywall at least once every few months. That day came around (again) last weekend, when I decided I could live with the leaning media room pony wall not one second longer.

Yea. That freakin' wall. It's a ~15' long by ~ 42" high pony wall that divides the media room space from the "balcobrary", and I've known pretty much since the moment I finished it that it was going to be a pain in my neck. Because, as I was told and I can now attest to firsthand, it's more or less impossible to build an unsupported, 15' long wall that just hangs out into space and have it be straight and plumb. And of course that wasn't taking into account the few hundred pounds of books that I hung off of one side of it after the fact, either.
So despite having blocked and screwed and glued the heck out of the framing from the outset, and then skinning the entire wall in plywood as an additional attempt to strengthen it, the darn thing just wanted to lean a few degrees to one side. The side loaded up with that few hundred pounds of books, if you couldn't guess.
And it has been one of those things that I just couldn't stop being annoyed by.

So, over the course of the last couple of years, I considered several options for fixes including removing the floating shelves and rebuilding a more permanent bookcase into the wall structure, but that seemed like too much work and, when it comes right down to it, I really quite like the look of the cheapo LACK shelves on that wall (bracket holes re-drilled to align with studs and therefore able to support more weight than their spec) despite having not ever intended them to be permanent.

Anyway, it's the kind of thing that no one other than me really noticed, the whole leaning issue (which explains why it's been this way for three years), but, when I pointed it out to one of our friends at our New Years brunch, he suggested just adding a small return to the end to prop the whole thing up, and....duh....that seemed like a great solution and one that would be about as painless as it could get.

So tear into drywall (again) I did, cutting and stripping it back to allow the grafting of a 12" deep return onto the end:

And just to be sure nothing is going anywhere this time, there's extra blocking and a plywood panel on one side and the whole deal got attached with A LOT of screws. Then, some new drwyall:

...an hour or two over a couple of days taping and mudding, a whole lotta dust (AGAIN, Argh) and at long last, a coat of actual paint instead of only primer, and the media room/balcobrary wall is restored to non-annoying. I even got a little bit into the very au courant "arrange books by color" thing when I put stuff back into place:

One more house project down, two hundred seventy-three to go. Next up is figuring out what to tile or otherwise treat that top ledge with. It's a fairly high traffic area between having the plants up there and the constant kitty explorations, so something more durable than painted drywall is in order. A glass mosaic maybe...

And if you must know, really, I'm glossing over that whole drywall taping and mudding part. There is nothing I hate doing more, and despite having way too much practice, I still seem to suck at it. Fortunately, the results are usually worth the mess and headache, and that is definitely the case here. In fact, I think I acutally like the whole balcobrary area better now that it's enclosed a bit by the new hunk of wall. Figures.